Online love, unique ways of dating on the rise

(WMBF) - Wall Street and the economy may be in complete shambles, but that isn't holding back Americans from indulging at love - especially when the rules of the game are changing.

Matchmakers are now finding that while it was proper etiquette for a man to pay for the first date or two, women are taking the reins and splitting the bill down the middle.

"In this economy, we find men and women pay and several times on that first date, the man will pay, and if they continue to go out, a lot of people will alternate," noted one matchmaker.

But despite the lackluster economy, dating websites say they are banking in on the bad times, seeing increases as much as 20 percent at the end of 2008.  Two of those sites - eharmony.com and match.com.

"They said high traffic days online were when the down was plummeting," said Susan Goodman, of New Britain, CT.

Great Date Now says it's seeing the green, too.

"We had a 38 percent increase right now and I think that is due to the poor economy," said Deena Vasilakos.

Many say whether using a dating service or looking for love online, less dough has forced them to get more creative with the way they look for a significant other and plan dates.  Dating on a budget has forced many to plan dates to the community theater, a local museum, or even at a nearby park.

"It can make a couple closer or people that are dating a little closer because it does force them to spend more one-on-one time with each other, instead of being distracted by something like a movie," said Jason Braff, who is dating on a budget.

In the end, it seems like the economy isn't keeping people away from love, but if anything, closer to it.

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